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Do paper towels such as Bounty scratch gun finishes?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by elano, Jan 16, 2016.

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  1. ericuda

    ericuda Member

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    Watch out for the red shop rags. They may have been laundered and may still contain metal shavings. The virgin white ones are good but cooldill's advice is spot on.
     
  2. Reloadron
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    Reloadron Contributing Member

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    Then why does a cheap paper towel get warm in the microwave? I shoved a good "Bounty" in there for 60 seconds. While it did not come out hot it was slightly warm to the touch. Why?

    Ron
     
  3. david58

    david58 Member

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    Same reason your chicken soup gets hot, unless you think it's full of metal fibers, too.

    The paper towel gets hot just like any other item you subject to microwaves, and not because of trace amounts of metal. No paper towel manufacturer would consciously add metal fines (think of the cost to do so), and for what benefit. You will instead see magnets to remove metal fines to avoid damaging equipment further down the line, and to avoid the disastrous lawsuit....
     
  4. gunlaw

    gunlaw Member

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    yep. a dedicated cotton rag with clean light weight oil works great and won't hurt the finish. The oil will add some protection and remove fingerprints. A scilicone cloth works great also.
     
  5. Reloadron
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    Reloadron Contributing Member

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    I never said consciously add metal.

    As to the chicken soup or food in a microwave? The food gets hot because water molecules in the food become agitated by the micro waves.

    Paper products depending on purity should not get hot. Note I said the paper towel was warm to the touch after 60 seconds. A plain dry paper towel contains no moisture, so why does it get warm to the touch and it isn't the same reason chicken soup gets hot or the same reason a strip of a metal foil gets hot. I am serious curious if the heating effect is not caused by impurities in the paper towel?

    Anyone?

    Yes, paper towels are abrasive and not very good for a fine gun surface.

    Ron
     
  6. DeepSouth

    DeepSouth Member

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    I'd assume the wood fibers are heating up, theirs also moisture in all paper, not much but it is there so that could be it to. All I can tell you for certain is theirs no metal of any type in paper.


    To the point of the OP, I should clarify my earlier statement. "The short answer is paper towels will scratch anything softer than hardwood fibers."
    It is important to note wood fibers are different from wood, the hardness of a piece wood is in large part is a result of how tightly packet the individual fibers are. The hardness of a (nearly microscopic) fiber is certainly different from a chip of wood. What the hardness of wood fiber is, I do not know.
     
  7. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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    I do know that paper towels will scratch plastic lenses in perscription glasses and sunglasses.

    I keep my oily gun rags in a zip lock bag and do the same thing for rags/socks I use for shoe polish. The oil does degrade the plastic after a while.
     
  8. Schwing

    Schwing Member

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    I certainly see how one might think paper products might be a problem but I have used them on my blued and stainless handguns for more than 20 years.

    I can only speak for my own experience which is that the majority of my firearms look like they have just been taken out of the box.

    I have never had a problem with them and will continue using them in the future.

    As far as using them on glasses, I agree. I used to use them when my lenses were glass with no issue. Most lenses are made out of poly-carbonates these days which are quite soft compared to glass... They don't touch my glasses anymore. The manufactures list them as safe to use on glass and most kitchen surfaces. I can promise you that a Formica counter top is much softer than blued steel or stainless.
     
  9. greenr18

    greenr18 member

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    Paper towels in my experience do not hold or rub off CLP well anyways. Get a clean old t shirt you don't care about, cut off what you feel you need, use it for patches and wiping cloths.
     
  10. TimSr

    TimSr Member

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    I use cotten rags, keep a small well oiled one in a zip lock in my shooting box as well, but I have to say that if you are scatching your finish with a paper towel, your finish is not exactly premium quality.
     
  11. 481

    481 Member

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    It is not a matter of purity, it is all about how much water they draw from the air.

    Paper towels, cheap or not, absorb atmospheric moisture and they hold it. Even right off the store shelf they have a small amount of water in them because their packing is not perfectly air- or water-tight.

    Microwaves act upon water molecules in the paper towels causing them to heat up and the paper towel gets warm.
     
  12. JWH321

    JWH321 Member

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    You mean there are guns with no scratches out there?
     
  13. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    Old tshirts are my preferred gun cleaning cloth. They also make great patches. After use they are discarded. I don't care for the idea of washing gun cleaning clothes and reusing them. Any lead picked up by the cloth has to go somewhere. Better the lead contaminated cloths go to an incinerator or landfill.

    Just my opinion.
     
  14. Reloadron
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    Reloadron Contributing Member

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    Never gave it much thought but hell yes, even a dry paper towel will have some water molecules. Sorry I did drag this thread off track and now back to scratches. Thanks.... I stand corrected.

    Ron
     
  15. DeepSouth

    DeepSouth Member

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    Even right off the machine they have moisture in them. Put a paper plate in the oven on 350° for a few hours, then take it out and try to ball it up. It'll crumble in your hand, that is what 0% moisture in paper does. I've worked on a paper board machine. We normally ran 7-8% moisture, we once ran some that needed a higher % and we ran it around 11%.
    Yesterday I asked a coworker that worked on a tissue machine what they ran, he said it was typically 5-6%

    Btw: the cheap towels are made on the same machine, with the same wood pulp as the expensive stuff. The main difference is what happens to it after comes off the machine.
     
  16. Charley C

    Charley C Member

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    Sorry, but you don't understand how microwave ovens "work";
    That isn't metal chips that "get hot"; microwaves don't produce heat. per se; the microwaves "excite" any water molecules present and the friction between the water molecules rubbing together is what produces the heat.

    If you put any metal in a MW you'll get a lot of SPARKS! (try it sometime....)
     
  17. Ash

    Ash Member

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    Ambient humidity affects all porous materials. Hydrophilic materials - particularly cotton, linen, paper, rayon (such as in bandages), absorb moisture from the air. They will not become more moist than the ambient humidity, however. If the air in your home is 12%, then given time, all porous materials will absorb that moisture until they reach parity with the air. Ditto for outside. Paper towels stored in a shed will have significantly more moisture than those stored in a house. Paper towels from a warehouse will be more moist than those in the store. Ironically, those that move faster from the store can be more moist than those that sit on the shelves longer because of the drying effect of air conditioning. In a similar way, those from one store sold near the freezer section can have more moisture than those further away (but this is due more to condensation than the truth that % humidity will be higher).

    What ever the moisture at the production facility is irrelevant to the end use as regardless of the moisture content, the product will shed or absorb water until it reaches parity with ambient air. This is also true of lumber and, for that matter, all porous materials.

    As to using it on guns, I wouldn't because of the reasons posted. Recycled paper is worse than virgin paper (and recycling paper is significantly worse for the environment than virgin while providing no protection for trees what-so-ever) because it does contain impurities that will damage finishes. This is also true of recycled cloth.

    But another reason to eschew paper towels is that they can leave cellulose fibers scattered about. An old shirt or, frankly better in my opinion a good set of old boxer shorts, is far better for cleaning guns. Just make sure it hasn't been use for other cleaning that might have picked up fine grit -you'd defeat the whole purpose then.
     
  18. Tirod

    Tirod Member

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    22 years USAR and the Army never - repeat - never issued paper products for weapons cleaning. Soldiers might grab whatever from the supply sergeant behind his back but paper isn't a good idea.

    The major issue is that absent proper cotton patches some will try to substitute paper - and leave fragments in the bore or chamber. Paper shreds easily and torn strips will get into the action, too. While the civilian owner might diligently observe them and take them out, a soldier who's got 5 minutes for lube and wipedown might miss it, especially when they have been up for 18-30 hours straight.

    With the huge amount of cotton waste we generate annually, finding an old knit t-shirt in the house to clean a gun shouldn't be an issue. In the service, you are issued them - and for the most part, you can tuck the tail back in when you are done. It launders out. :evil:

    After a major stoppage on a full auto training range I learned the hard way - never use paper to clean a weapon. It was a lesson learned in the right place and time, all it cost me was some pride.
     
  19. jlr1962

    jlr1962 Member

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    I like the red shop towels. I have bought a couple of bags that have lasted for years.Just wash and dry them by themselves the first few washings. They bleed color worse than any fabric I have ever washed when they are new. I don't have a problem washing them with other clothing as I use mpro or hoppes elite products. My work clothes are more likely to have toxic stuff on them.
    I have used paper towels without issue. I have never used paper patches in the bore. I don't think they would be strong enough.
     
  20. orphanedcowboy

    orphanedcowboy Member

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    I use the 18 pack of washcloths from Wally World, $3.23 a pack here. Wash them and they are great for cleaning the wood and metal and have never scratched anything yet.
     
  21. HoosierQ

    HoosierQ Member

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    Highly skilled knife sharpeners (the people, not the tools) often use pure clean paper as a last step in their stropping process to even further refine and polish and edge. Often wet paper.
     
  22. Tallbald

    Tallbald Member

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    Back in 2008 I was heating a dish for my aging widowed mother in the microwave with a cheap paper towel covering the plate to prevent splatters. I watched it as always and was horrified to see the paper towel burst into flames about 45 seconds into the 2 minute heating cycle. I was later told that cheap paper towels sometimes have metallic particles in the paper pulp that will absorb(?) radio waves and produce heat. Since then, I avoid paper towels except for wiping oil and cleaner spills. Scared the heck out of me when I thought of what could have happened. Of course just my 2 cents.Don.
     
  23. ewlyon

    ewlyon Member

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    I almost exclusively use paper towels for cleaning my guns since I don't like the idea of buying patches and I keep paper towels in the kitchen anyway. I use them with gun oil and any scratches they may leave are beyond my ability to see
     
  24. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Member

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    I have used cotton lint free rags, to paper towels on my guns. Cheap paper towels, quality paper towels. I've never seen once that a paper towel caused a scratch in the finish of the guns.

    I've also microwaved the cheapest paper towels on the face of the earth and never had one burst into flames.

    I'll generally use a CLP soaked paper towel for a quick once over cleaning. Lint free rags come into play only for full detail cleaning.
     
  25. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    Probably not. The tiny silicate particles (phytoliths) are microscopic. As the gun's finish isn't a lens, you would not notice the degradation immediately. It would be something that occurred over time, but like a very fine sandpaper, it is scratching the finish, even if you don't see the actual scratches.
     
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